One of the amazing things about Jesus is that no matter where we are, what we are doing, what our story is, He loves us. In the famous hymn’s words he loves me Just As I Am. I can come to know Him just as I am, receive His grace as I am and start to follow Him right from where I am now. I don’t earn it. In fact I can’t earn it. God loves you and me right now, no matter what.
The truth is that we all long for that. We long to be fully known and fully loved. We look for it everywhere. As a believer we realize at least intellectually and theologically that God is really the only person who can fulfill that in our lives. But that doesn’t stop us from wanting to experience that with another person or people. It also doesn’t stop us from feeling hurt when we don’t experience it with other people even though again, we know intellectually that no one else can do that perfectly.
What’s really interesting is how this gets twisted up when we think about looking for a spouse and frankly later in marriage itself if we get married.
In my last post I began talking about this idea of being a servant leader that we toss around in Christian circles. I’m not going to rehash all of that here. You might start by reading that post. Today I want to talk about the servant part and in another post I’ll talk about the leadership side.
I want to clarify a couple of things quickly. I’m not suggesting here that we shouldn’t serve people. Not at all. We often should. Again, Jesus served. He called us to serve others. What I’m suggesting that serving and leadership are not the same and our motive for serving matters.
Jesus did not serve in order to gain followers. He didn’t serve to earn relationships. The reason Jesus is the greatest servant is because he didn’t have to serve at all and yet chose to. Not only that, but He gave the ultimate service in dying for us. Jesus served His followers. But again He didn’t serve to get followers.
So recently I heard a song by Sean Mendes aptly titled “Treat You Better”. This song frankly encapsulates how guys (especially young guys) often see the dating scene completely wrong. Especially “nice” guys. Especially Christian “nice” guys. I know this, because for a long time, longer than I care to admit, I was this guy. In my teen years (Mendes is 18) I could have written this song. Heck, I wrote some songs like this.
When I was a teenager, I always liked the girl that dated the guy that was “bad” for her. Pretty much literally all of my high school crushes could be summed up in that. I was the good guy friend. Sometimes I actually was a real friend, but other times that was just the line they told me to be nice instead of telling me to get lost.
I was seen as the nice guy. The guy who would make some girl happy one day, just not that girl. She instead dated the guy who was crazy, dangerous (read exciting) and who they were typically sleeping with (read sexually attracted to). I was none of those things.
Most of my usual readers know that this blog is written mainly for men. Lots of ladies read this and probably 70% of what I write here is pretty applicable to both sexes. This is especially true of all that I’ve said theologically about celibacy, family and the Church. It’s mostly true of the things we discuss having to do with living in the context of being unmarried including things like dealing with sexual desire, community, touch, money, dealing with loss, etc.
However most of what I’ve offered here in terms of what to do with attraction, how to attract people, how to get a date and how to date, have been very guy centered. I’ve had several requests from female readers at different times for thoughts on what they can do in those areas. So I want to offer some thoughts today.
One of the complaints I hear all the time from men (and that I used to make all the time) is that women, and in our case Christian women, always seem to choose the bad guy over the good guy. If you are a consistent reader hear then you know that I would say that is the wrong view of a real issue.
Here is what women do – they choose the guy they are attracted to over the one they aren’t.
There are a lot of men who say that women should date them because they can be a great husband, are trying to be godly etc, even though they are not, for whatever reason attractive to women. I would ask that guy, are you asking out women you know to be godly that you are not attracted to? I’m guessing no.
So rather than sit around and complain, maybe we should think about what is attractive and work on it.
We have a man problem! How many times have you heard that in the Church in the last 10 years?
I want to respond some more to a piece from the SBTS that quotes Al Mohler talking about this. This isn’t personal by the way. All Mohler is doing is putting words to what so many in the Church think about singleness and marriage.
As Mohler is discussing the “sin” of delaying marriage (what length of delay equals sin is unclear of course) he says,
“This is a problem shared by men and women. But it is primarily of men. We have established a boy culture in which boys are not growing up into men.
Guys, the reality is that God has given us a responsibility to lead, to take responsibility as a man, to be the man in every way before God that we are called to be . . . It means taking the leadership to find a godly wife and to marry her and to be faithful to her in every way and to grow up to be a man who is defined as a husband, and by Gods grace we pray eventually, as father.”